I'm not really sure where to start with this review since we've posted so much about RAGE [99¢ / HD] in the past, but for the sake of not leaving people who stumble across this review on Twitter or Google out in the cold, here's some back story.

Back at QuakeCon in August, John Carmack pulled his iPhone out of his pocket and surprised the audience with a incredibly impressive tech demo of a portion of the upcoming RAGE first person shooter complete with the new id Tech 5 graphics engine. iOS gamers were left with their jaws on the floor as the potential of a pocket sized-version of RAGE ran wild in everyone's imagination.

The full version of RAGE for the PC and home consoles isn't going to be released until late next year, but the iOS version is only a small peek into the RAGE universe. It comes in two flavors, a "high definition" version for the iPhone 4, 4th generation iPod touch and iPad. A "standard definition" version is available for other devices. The basis of the iPhone game is that you are a contestant on a weekly game show where people are pitted against an onslaught of mutants to win fabulous prizes.

RAGE for iOS begins with a selection of three levels (or, "seasons" of the Mutant Bash TV show) along with difficulty levels ranging from "easy" to "nightmare". The goal is to make your way through each of these levels and earning as much in-game cash as possible. RAGE for the iPhone is entirely on rails, and it plays a lot like other arcade-style rails shooters like Time Crisis. The game runs you through each level and you control your field of view, aiming at things with a crosshair in the center of the screen.

Two control options are included, a tilt-based option which controls like many other games where you tilt to control your view as well as a virtual joystick of sorts which also isn't anything new. Sensitivity options are included for both input methods, as well as the ability to flip both the X and Y axis. Oddly enough, no gyroscope control option has been included in the initial release. We found the default controls to be workable, but twitchy. It seems that the main cause of this is that the game always wants to be centering your view. When you let your finger of the screen, instead of staying where you're looking, it snaps right back to the center. Also, playing through the levels can be a little disorienting at times as you're expecting to be able to control where you look, but often times, the game disregards your input and will, for instance, quickly look to the right to peer around a corner.

There's more to do in RAGE than blast mutants though, as earning tons of cash involves picking up tons of loot and hitting various bulls eyes as well. All this goes together to create an incredibly fast paced experience as you run down hallways, and making split second decisions between continuing to shoot at a mutant or aim off to the right to score some quick bonus points. On easy mode, it basically doesn't matter what you do, but on nightmare, a decision like that could mean life or death.

Once you complete a level, your score is displayed, the next one is unlocked, and you keep playing. Assuming you are playing on a difficulty level low enough to not get mauled by mutants requiring extra play throughs, making your way through all three seasons of Mutant Bash TV will likely take around 30 minutes. From there, it's up to you to find your own motivation to continue playing the game. Game Center isn't implemented yet, so you've really got to be one of those people who really likes beating their own score to keep playing the game. Enemies always spawn in the same place, and both the bonus targets and loot never move. Once you memorize the game, it just comes down to how efficiently you can make your way through the levels.

There's lots of room for improvement in RAGE, in fact, John Carmack himself started a thread in our forums asking for suggestions. Online scores, and some kind of in-game store to spend the money you earn on things like different weapons, skins, or anything else to work towards would add tons of replay value which is the one thing that RAGE really is lacking right now.

Like most games, how much you enjoy RAGE likely depends on your expectations going in to it. At the end of the day, RAGE is little more than a fabulous looking bite sized sample of a much more expansive RAGE universe which will be further explored in future games. For what it is, RAGE is a fun game that I've had a great time playing through a few times. It's also one of the best ways to both show off the power of your iPhone as unlike Epic Citadel [Free], RAGE is an actual game.

  • http://dendory.net Dendory

    My main issue with it was that it only has 3 levels, it's pretty short. But the graphics and voice over are pretty damn nice.

    • http://twitter.com/NoSuperMan ImNoSuperMan

      Yep. more will levels be awesome. But the game is supposed to be played over and over again to improve your scores instead of just completing the levels. Which isnt really of much point coz there is no online multiplayer yet. Once this gets Game Center (already confirmed for an update) and a crap load of achievements, I'll be playing those 3 levels for quite some time :)

      It does look awesome though. Second only to current gen consoles (PS3 and X360) games.

      • Thaurin

        ...and PC graphics, of course, which the consoles are second to. ;)

  • MicroByte

    Been playing most of the day... I'm addicted

    • Zswim1

      its not even out yet....?

  • Hernan

    OK. Seriously. I need to buy this game. Please, John Carmack, God, Kami Sama or whoever is listening. Please, make this game available on the Argentinian Store. I have other id games, but I don't get why Rage is not available. At least not yet.

  • tsharpfilm

    Might as well use tilt controls since this is a bloody rail shooter. Just invert the Y axis. Makes aiming easier.

  • MGS

    I reckon it has to be either more levels, or random spawns in the limited amount of the current ones. Otherwise, if the ONLY motivation is to beat your own score, it's seriously 1995.

    • Silentcorp

      Yeah, because there are NO iPhone games based on getting high scores right?

      Oh wait.....

  • EastsideStompers

    Wonderful graphics but I can feel a yawn coming on...

  • EastsideStompers

    Wonderful graphics but I can feel a yawn coming on...

  • maxpancake

    Can I play it on a 2nd Gen iTouch?

    • http://twitter.com/Phosphorus17 Angel Player

      Yes, you'd have to buy the .99c version though, the HD version is for iPhone 3gs and up.

  • Trautman

    Why is not Rage released in Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan?

  • Sticktron

    A very nice and fun to play Tech Demo.
    It's basically Doom: Resurrection take-two, but shorter and and with tweaks on the gameplay (targets, cash, and a little more freedom of camera movement, or at least the feeling thereof. The key gameplay dynamic is fast-and-accurate aiming combined with a bit of quick object recognition (for the ammo/health/cash/targets). It's a fun and engaging type of gameplay (specifically on a tilt device), although ultimately iD goes nowhere with it.

    IMO it should have been structured as one endless level with dynamic rooms of enemies in predefined "scenes" such as turning a corner, appearing on the balcony, popping out from behind an obstacle, etc. The player scoots along to the next room on rails, goes through a sequence of firefights, and then it's off to the next room. And by room I really mean dungeon in game parlance. Each broken into 4 or 5 rooms with 4 or 5 enemies in various "scenes" in each.

  • kevlar x

    I'm really struggling with the controls, after using gyro controls on so many other games it just doesn't feel right, I can rarely aim at something instantly. Hopefully gyro controls will be added very soon.

  • Me

    You forgot to mention that it has video-out! Anyone reading this simply hook up your iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4, or your iPad to a TV-out adapter. Then click on the game. The games main menu should appear on your TV, you can then play the game on your TV.

  • Mike Doghouse

    I think it's very worth noting the price point here. This is pretty much costing (for the HD version, in the UK) the same as a 500ml bottle of coke.
    Use the tilt controls, up the sensitivity, invert Y axis, profit

  • http://dear-apple.com/ DearApple

    Too bad only US citizen can play it legally, actually same story is with other ID Software games.. Oh well, http://dear-apple.com/this-is-why-we-pirate-0

    • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Phil Baxter

      It's not US only. I'm in the UK and bought it legally from the UK app store.

      The decision where to release apps is entirely down to the developer, so take your complaint to id software, not to Apple.

      • Hogger

        It seems to be more of a legal matter in certain countries, where the developers are required to pay taxes (due to licenses and such). Yet, in these countries, there is no smooth way to pay this and the only way to release it is to do the extra paperwork and it's because of this that certain games aren't released immediately (or ever?) in certain countries. New Zealand in particular has a very strict view on gaming and licenses.

        You are correct though, RAGE is by no means U.S. only and was released in the majority of countries.

      • http://dear-apple.com/ DearApple

        Yep I've exaggerated this a bit, of course not US only. The problem is I can't obtain it legally so I don't really care about exact list of countries. And yes I've sent a note to ID also, but anyway this is not fair.

      • lee

        You made shit up to make a point, good job.

  • EastsideStompers

    Price doesn't make the game play any more/less engaging. I'd recommend waiting for a Gameloft 59p sale on Zombie Infection. Less pretty undoubtedly, but at least there is some sort of storyline progression and incentive to play. This is a pretty demo, nothing more, and nothing less.

    • someone

      i own both, and have spent much more time with Rage. i think if an action game will be made for ios, this is the way to do it. i honestly have not cared for the story of any action game iv played. phoenix wright's story will give me incentive, not modern combat's, or zombie infection's. With rage, i can jump straight into the action. if i cared for the cinematics, id play a console game. Rage and Infinity Blade are true ios action games :P

  • Thor

    Oh, Ah, look at those awesome graphics... otherwise railshooters are complete useless like demos. Id is the big looser in the App game. They just managed to release poor versions of their classics and two rail shooters, that suck like hell. I miss the times, when we had good games not graphics.

    Thats the reason, why I sold all of my consoles and use a Mac instead of a PC now. There are copys of games, re-releases and some new crap. Nothing worth playing. Except a few simple but addictive apps for the iPhone, I play over and over.

    There is still hope, but Apple really needs to make a joypad for the iDevices, otherwise the kids cripple their hands while playing boring railgun shooters from id.

    • bartlebooth

      Rail shooters is a great genre in the video game history, and some of the most incredible games are rail shooters.

      Games like Panzer Dragoon, Sin and Punishment are infinitely betterly designed than 99% of the video game production today, not knowing that or not having experienced it means at best ignorance and at worst not liking video games for what they are.

      I am tired of all this anti rail shooter trolling, you don't like the genre, fine, don't disgust the others, it would be a shame regarding the quality of the production.

      I have actually more fun with this than all the COD MW operation pimp me and Uncharted 37 on earth

  • Dom

    I found it boring to be honest. Theres not much to the game and epic citadel graphics are better.

  • RiddimRider

    Im truly disappointed of the game. A big, shiny, pinky emptyness. I will to make a refund.
    This game is the shame of Carmack. Yes, they are not the ID anymore...managers told him what to do and when .
    Ces't la vie guys...im not recommend to buy.

  • guest

    Awesome game.Awesome graphics,really pushing the device.

  • Saraf

    simple
    this is not for gamers.
    its for tech geeks only. to show off there phones capabilities to the one or two larry's left who don't have a clue.,

    its 2 bucks pourly spent, if that is even possible.
    yes it is,
    I could have bought a second cup of coffee this morning. It would have lasted longer than this experience and left a better taste in my mouth.

    • Lam

      *poorly not "pourly"

  • James

    Bought the HD version today,really enjoying it.Graphics is mindblowing.

  • James

    Bought the HD version today,really enjoying it.Graphics is mindblowing.

  • GiHubb

    Crap game, boring and repetitive, except for the graphics, there is nothing here but a glorified tech demo. Get Epic Citadel instead, it's more fun!

  • Rapaleeman

    Amazing graphics and... ... ... that's it. Extremely shallow and fun for about 10 minutes. I literally went right back to Need For Speed after the said 10 minutes.